EDEN MILLS – The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival (EMWF) has long been a showcase for CanLit legends and rising literary stars.
Under the helm of new artistic director Nicola Dufficy, the 2019 festival presents a lineup of programming and presenters for readers and writers of all ages.
“Thought-provoking, eclectic and entertaining, the EMWF offers something for everyone,” officials say.
On Sept. 6, the EMWF brings together two best-selling Canadian authors for the opening night of the festival.
Marina Endicott and Guy Gavriel Kay will appear on stage together for the first time, to discuss their craft and the role of the past in their respective novels.
Opening the evening will be Garry Thomas Morse, reading from Safety Sand, his most recent collection of poetry, accompanied by Juno-award-winning cellist, Matt Brubeck.
New this year, an expanded offering of workshops for aspiring writers will be held on Sept. 7, 2019.
Cecil Foster, acclaimed author of They Call Me George, which depicts the history of black train porters in Canada, will lead a workshop on finding self-confidence as a writer.
Alix Ohlin, chair of the Creative Writing Program at University of British Columbia, will lead “Time Travel for Everyone,” an investigation of time within stories – when to speed up, when to slow down, how to move around in the past, present, and future.
Anakana Schofield, the author of Bina, invites writers to participate in a workshop entitled “Expand Your Universe” wherein they will be encouraged to “furnish (their) upstairs chamber with a bit more variety and a few more open windows”.
Children’s author Marie-Louise Gay, of the Stella and Sam series, will lead two workshops, the first for teachers and librarians, exploring how to encourage children to write their own stories, and the second aimed at aspiring children’s book authors.
Festival Sunday, the main event, will welcome more than 50 writers to the village of Eden Mills on Sept. 8.
Emma Donoghue returns to Eden Mills with Akin, her first contemporary novel since Room, along with best-selling author Terry Fallis, Giller-winner Lynn Coady and award-winning journalist, broadcaster and author Linden MacIntyre, whose newest work The Wake tells the true story of destruction and survival following the tsunami that struck Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula in 1929.
Catherine Porter, the Canada bureau chief for The New York Times, shares the ways in which her personal and professional lives collided as a journalist covering the devastating aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
For the first time, the EMWF will present graphic novelists as part of Festival Sunday, including Renee Nault, whose stunning graphic novel adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale brings the story to vivid life.
The EMWF also presents poets Lee Maracle, Garry Thomas Morse, Hasan Namir, Armand Garnet Ruffo, Hugh Thomas, Shannon Webb-Campbell, and Chantal Gibson, whose genre-blurring extension of her artistic practice “gives voice to black women represented across the Canadian cultural imagination.”
Hope Matters, Maracle’s collection, has the journey of Indigenous peoples from colonial beginnings to reconciliation as its focus, and was written in collaboration with her two daughters.
Memoirs featured at the festival by Samra Zafar, Jesse Thistle and Kristen Worley tell incredible stories of strength and resilience.
Zafar details her struggle to escape a brutal arranged marriage in A Good Wife.
From the Ashes depicts Thistle’s troubled youth, his refusal to give up, and the love and support that enabled him to find happiness.
Woman Enough is the fascinating account of Worley’s activism in the fight for transgender rights, as the first person to successfully sue the International Olympic Committee for a human rights violation.
Festival Sunday is family-friendly; presenters for children and young adults include Tanaz Bhathena, Marie-Louise Gay, Kevin Sylvester and award-winning author of Scarborough Catherine Hernandez, whose book I Promise, about the sacred promise to love a child, marks her return to children’s literature.
While the EMWF is a chance to hear from favourite authors, it’s also the ideal place to discover new voices.
Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Philip Huynh, Karen McBride, Zalika Reid-Benta and Amy Spurway and their debuts.
A detailed schedule of events can be found at www.emwf.ca.